Sunday, August 30, 2009

Great review for Picture This!


Book Wenches reviewed Picture This, and had some great things to say: "Cate Master’s novella Picture This is a story about misunderstandings and second chances. Although a light and quick read, it is well-written enough to grab a reader’s interest and hold on to it... I found myself drawn into the story by the puzzle presented by Ben’s behavior and also charmed by both the story’s touches of humor and its colorful and personable characters. In Sydney and Ben, Ms. Masters has given us a hero and heroine who feel very 'real' and quite human."
Thanks, Book Wenches!
You can read the full review here.
Picture This is available digitally now from Eternal Press and in print from Amazon!
You can view the trailer at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N8luvtiK2g
Here’s the story blurb:
Harrisburg News reporter Sydney Welles writes award-winning, attention-getting news stories. Her career’s on track, but she’d like a little more attention in her personal life. A year ago, she shared a great kiss with Philadelphia Daily News photographer Ben Taylor. Since then, nothing but a string of one-hit wonders. Suddenly, Ben’s back in her life – well, in her newsroom, anyway – but he acts as if he’s meeting her for the first time. Their story assignments throw them into uncomfortably close quarters, but Claudia, her editor, reminds Sydney she’s a consummate professional. She can handle it. Sydney’s not so certain when she and Ben go undercover to expose the mayor for shady dealings and he kisses her again. To keep their cover, he says. The mayor resigns amid shame, and Sydney’s the toast of the town. Two other reporters take an interest in more than her journalistic talents, but Sydney can’t help picturing herself back in Ben’s arms. Will she still want to once she learns Ben’s secret?


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Design for Life

Today I received the beautiful cover for my Sweetheart Rose story, Design for Life. I wrote this story for the Flower Basket series, but also to encourage my youngest daughter, Becca, to follow her dreams no matter what life might throw at her. Ironic, since this week, life threw us a hugely unexpected curve ball from left field and I spent the week in the Intensive Care Unit with my husband. We were lucky that he followed his instincts and we went to the ER in time, so his heart attack was mild. A cardiac catheter’s not the most pleasant procedure, but it found 95 percent blockage in an artery, and the stent the heart surgeon implanted will prevent a future occurrence, with some diligence on our part.
It’s times like these that really throw life into sharp perspective, and priorities fall immediately into line. Having my husband well enough to come home again took the number one slot, and everything else fell away. So if I owe you anything, please be patient, I’m working my way through everything.
Life’s lessons can sometimes be harsh, but it’s what we take away from them that’s important. Yes, following your dreams is still important, but having someone to love who loves you equally provides the essential basis from which everything else flows and grows. Something else I hope Design for Life conveys.
I’m still working on the final edits, but here’s the story blurb:
Becca Lyndon puts her dreams on hold by leaving art school to care for her ailing mom. Working full time at The Flower Basket leaves precious little time, but she squeezes in night classes at the local college. When Mike Hunter fills in as a substitute teacher, she worries about a repeat of the critical reviews he gave her work when he substituted at her high school three years earlier. His reason comes as a complete surprise, but can she trust him? Or will he disappear like her father? When that possibility looms all too real, she’s determined never to let the design for her life unravel again. Following her bliss requires work, but pays off in more ways than she ever imagined. She also learns that one door might close, but another can open—and lead to unexpected opportunities.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Welcome special guest author PL Parker!

Cate: Readers, please welcome paranormal fantasy romance author PL Parker. PL, will you please share a bit of background with us?
PL: Offbeat is a perfect word when describing me. For many years, I taught, performed, as well as choreographed, dance. I am a dreamer and an avid reader of fiction, a sometimes gardener and an inept crafter. I love to travel, always returning to my beautiful Idaho where I reside with my husband, Jack, my children and extended family, Jared, Travis, Zachary and Tannis, two huge cats and a toy poodle. I am a member of Romance Writers of America and Fiona is my first novel. It has been followed by my second novel, Riley's Journey. Heart of the Sorcerer comes out today, and have just finished the final edits on Aimee's Locket, and will have a release date soon. I am currently working on a sequel to Riley's Journey.

Cate: Your web site is fantastic! The images drew me right in, and the quote really intrigued me – is that from a specific story?
PL: Actually no. That is mine. I searched everything I could think of to make sure it was mine, and found nothing. I wanted something that connected my website to time travel, which is the basis for most of my stories.

Cate: What drew you to time travel and paranormal romance?
PL: I've always loved the concept of time travel. What could be more exciting than to travel back in time, meet a gorgeous hunk (which is probably even more unrealistic and creative) and have an adventure outside the norm. I loved H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, especially the first one that came out in 1960 with Yvette Mimieux and Rod Taylor. I think that movie is what really drew me to time travel. I read probably 2 books a week, and 99% are paranormal.

Cate: Tell us about Heart of the Sorcerer, your latest release.
PL: This is a shorter story. It centers around a portrait over the mantle in the heroine's grandmother's house in England. The man in the picture was believed to be a sorcerer and he calls to Annalisa in her dreams. He wants her – badly.

Heart Of The Sorcerer
Drawn inexplicably back to her childhood home, Annalisa returns, seeking to fill the void existing in her loveless life. Granny Jean, Annalisa’s adopted grandmother, failing in health and mental acuity, endeavors to discover the secrets of Annalisa’s soul, wanting nothing more than Annalisa to be happy before she leaves this earth. A picture hangs over the mantle in Gran’s cottage depicting a beautiful man of another time, a man who haunts Annalisa’s every dream, a man who calls to her in dreams. Unknown to Annalisa, Gran and Alec, the man in the painting, have set forth a course of events to eventually send Annalisa back, back into the arms of Alec.

I've created a book trailer and here is the link for a little more insight.
Heart of the Sorcerer releases today from The Wild Rose Press.

Cate: Your two earlier releases with Wild Rose, Fiona and Riley’s Journey, garnered excellent reviews – congrats! Tell us more about them.
PL: Fiona was my very very first attempt at writing a novel. My husband kept telling me I should write, I have such an imagination and I would make up these stories and tell him. One night I was watching the Discovery Channel about the discovery of the Urumchi Mummies, perhaps Tocharian Celts, in Northern China. One mummy, a young blonde woman, was perhaps a sacrificial victim. Got to me. Decided she needed a happier ending so Fiona came into being. In my story, Fiona is in a car wreck and wakes up alone and lost. She is found by a group of ancient Celts who take her with them – and so the story goes.

Riley's Journey was again Discovery Channel. All about the Ice Age and survival there. I got to thinking about what modern man (and woman) would have to endure to survive in that time. Could we do it? I did some research on the time period and decided that was my next venture. Unsuspecting Riley, believing she is on an extended research assignment, is sent back to be the mate of a man who went back five years before. But no one told her it was forever.

Cate: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
PL: No. I'm the lone wolf. My sisters are my first editors and my husband is my reader. They are all great. My husband can hardly wait for the next chapter and gets frustrated when I don't write fast enough. Hee hee.

Cate: What inspires you in your personal life? In your writing?
PL: Being out and about. I work full time as a legal secretary in a big law firm in downtown Boise, Idaho. A lot of my characters come from people I know. Don't tell anyone, but my somewhat challenged person in Heart of the Sorcerer is named after someone I work with. Hee hee.

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
PL: I find that making sure the character reacts/speaks like his character would. That is a challenge because I wouldn't necessarily say what my character says, but fun to imagine. The easiest is coming up with ideas. I have a notebook that I write down ideas and I'm pretty far ahead, but when I finally sit down to write the next, often it is a whole new idea. My sons are good inspiration. They're always coming up with ideas for stories as well.

Cate: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
PL: So far, it was when I got the "yes" that TWRP wanted Fiona. I was very lucky. I started writing Fiona in January of 2006 and finished it in mid summer 2006 and TWRP accepted it in late December or early January 2007.

Cate: Do you feel as if your characters come alive vividly as you write? Do they assert themselves in ways that surprise you?
PL: Oh, most definitely. By the time I've finished a story, I feel like the characters are my friends – people I know. I go back and read parts periodically and get emotional. In fact, when I was finishing Aimee's Locket, I cried for her at the end. Each of my ladies is very different, but my humor does tend to come out in each one, which I'm thankful for.

Cate: What comes first in your writing process – a scene, characters, title? Are you a plotter or pantser?
PL: A pantser. I know this sounds weird, but a lot of my scenes/characters come to me in dreams. I wake up and it's like I know what comes next. Titles are the most challenging. I want to keep it short, but draw attention, so sometimes the title is very last.

Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
PL: Favorites are Christine Feehan and Sherilyn Kenyon. I did just finish one by Nina Bangs that I really liked.

Cate: What's next for you? Anything in the works?
PL: I just finished a manuscript Absolution. This is a vampire story and I'm doing a last walk through before going the round of submissions. I'm also working on a sequel to Riley's Journey as I've had so many requests from people around the world. Interesting to revisit.

Cate: Any other hobbies or specialties?
PL: I was a dance teacher/choreographer/performer of Beledi Dance for 27 years. Along with another woman, we ran the dance troupe Marrakesh Express and had some success. I am pretty creative - make fairy gardens, Christmas wall hangings, etc. Since writing, though, much of this has gone by the way. Just too much involved in the writing process. But I'm loving life.

Cate: Where can you be found on the web?
PL: My web page is www.plparker.com; my myspace is www.myspace.com/mrsplparker and my blog is plparker.blogspot.com. I'm also on Facebook and Twitter and numerous other author websites.

Cate: Anything else you’d like to share?
PL: I wish everyone writer had a husband as supportive and as big a fan as my husband, Jack. He was so convinced I would be a good writer, he went out and bought my computer and told me to get started. So I did.

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
PL: I'd be interested to know what they are interested in. Sometimes hearing what others would like to read opens up new vistas.

Cate: Readers, PL's giving away a book to a random commenter... so start commenting! She'll pick a winner on Friday, Aug. 28 around 8 pm EST.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

RoRR Contest Winners

I apologize for the late post, but I spent the day in the ER with my dear hubby, who's still in the hospital. :( I hope to bring him home tomorrow.
And now, finally, here are the winners of my releases. Thanks to all who commented, and helped make my author day a great day!
Seventh Heaven: Gail
The Duende and the Muse: Deidre
Liberation via Pen: fcammer2
One Soul for Sale: no entries :(
The Lure of the Vine: no entries :(
Going with Gravity: Loretta Canton
Picture This: Christy M
Wilderness Girl: Val
Congrats to all! I hope you enjoy the stories, and if you do, please don't hesitate to leave a review on the publisher's site, or email me - I'd love to hear from you!
With the exception of Val, I will email everyone's PDFs tonight. Please let me know if you don't receive them, I'm a little bleary-eyed tonight!
Val, as soon as I receive my PDF, I'll send it on to you!
Thanks everyone!


Monday, August 24, 2009

Welcome special guest author Lorhainne Eckhart!

Cate: Please welcome Lorhainne Eckhart. Lorhainne, will you please share a short bio with us?
Lorhainne: Lorhainne Eckhart published her first novel, The Captain’s Lady with The Wild Rose Press, a single title military romance, release date June 26, 2009. She is a mother of three young children. An advocate for special needs children and our environment. She lives in the country on Vancouver Island.

Cate: Tell us about The Captain’s Lady, released by The Wild Rose Press, and where else it's available.
Lorhainne: Captain Eric Hamilton discovers a dinghy adrift with a battered, pregnant Abby. She escaped from the Arab who held her captive for over a year. He is charged, maliciously, with sexual assault and the CIA wants Abby and the baby. Can Eric find a way to save them both?
The Captain’s Lady is available from online booksellers, in both print and digital format. I have links on my website at www.LorhainneEckhart.com/ to available booksellers, which include Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Wild Rose Press (digital and print), just to name a few.

Cate: You've had some wonderful reader reviews recently - congrats! One described it as "gripping, romantic and vivid" and the other placed it in the top ten percent of books she'd read, a glowing tribute!
At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Lorhainne: It was about five years ago now, that I sat down to write my first novel, although it was several years before this, that I dreamed of writing.
After I finished my novel, I pursued an agent for the first couple of years. There was interest including requests for full and partials of my manuscript. Except it wasn’t until I decided to pursue a publisher directly, did I receive an offer for publication, which happened within a matter of a few weeks. I received two offers. The one I accepted was with The Wild Rose Press, in April of 2008

Cate: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Lorhainne: There are no writers in my family, so my friends and family were quite shocked when they heard I published my first novel.

Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
Lorhainne: Intense, Gripping, and romantic.

Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Lorhainne: I do have a writing routine. I treat it like a job. I write every morning and early afternoon. I get up anywhere between 4 and 5 am to write for a few hours before the kids get up. Then after they are at school, I sit down and write. I establish a word count that I need to complete each day. So if I reach that word count early, I’m finished for the day. One thing I try not to do is schedule anything in the morning.

Cate: How do you pick the character’s names?
Lorhainne: I pick the characters names based on their personalities. It either fits or it doesn’t. A name is like your own unique style, characteristics of a person. Generally a name comes to me for a character, if not I search for names based on that personality. When I write about a character I research their background of the part of the country they come from. I do look up that state or city, for common names, that are common in that area.

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Lorhainne: The most challenging aspect of writing, is the research. I am detail oriented, so I need to have facts. Sometimes the research takes more time than the actual writing of the novel.
The easiest aspect of writing for me is allowing the plot to unfold. When I have uninterrupted time to get into a scene, the ideas flow. It’s that beginning stage before I go back and edit.

Cate: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Lorhainne: When I finish editing a novel, after all the research, countless hours of writing, including polish that manuscript over and over. When that is done, for me it is the most rewarding.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Lorhainne: The characters come alive for me when I write, they have their own personality, their own story to tell. I can see them in a multi faceted way when I write.
They do not haunt my dreams, but if I am stuck on scene I quite often will wake up from a dream with the aspect of the story that I am looking for.

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Lorhainne: “My copy of The Captain’s Lady arrived yesterday. It looks great. I almost over cooked my halibut steak when I opened the book and started to read. Great opening pages.”

Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Lorhainne: I have many favorite authors, Suzanne Brockmann, Karen Robards, James Patterson, Stephanie Laurens, Linda Howard, Nicholas Sparks… these are just a few, I am just getting into reading some brand new authors and I am sure I will be adding them to favorite authors.
Books: One that stands out as my all time favorite, is Ride the Wind by Lucia St. Clair Robson. Today I am reading a Suzanne Brockmann novel, Kiss and Tell.

Cate: What impact do electronic readers create on the bottom line for authors? Or in people/the environment in general?
Lorhainne: Well first off, until I published my novel. I knew nothing of electronic readers. This is a new area for me.
Although my perspective in this day of the electronic age, I understand many readers prefer the e-format. But the vast majority of readers, still want that hardcopy book in their hands. It’s tactile. The bottom line for authors, I think it’s a benefit to have your novel available in both formats, so the reader has a choice. It all boils down to what our readers prefer and in which format. Electronic readers are necessary and benefit the author in the long run. They are quick and easy for people, you can instantly download a novel. Take several novels with you on holidays in a compact format. For the environment, there is no paper so it saves trees.

Cate: What's next for you?
Lorhainne: I just finished writing and polishing my third novel. Now I am researching literary agents. I feel it’s time to pursue representation. The third novel has a planned sequel, which picks up after the tragic loss of one of the characters in the story. So along with promoting my first novel and seeking representation, I am have also starting writing my fourth novel.

Cate: Where can you be found on the web?
Lorhainne: My author’s website is at www.LorhainneEckhart.com/

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Lorhainne: What aspect of my novel makes you want to read it?

Cate: Readers, Lorhainne is giving away a book to a random commenter... so start commenting! She'll pick a winner on at the end of the tour, and the blog host will be notified. Stay tuned to see if you might be the winner.

In the meantime, enjoy an excerpt from The Captain's Lady:

“We have no reports of a ship in distress in the area, Captain.”
“What about fishing boats?”
“No, sir, no reports.”
Looking once more at his first officer, Eric issued curt orders, the harshness grating in his voice. “Send a rescue team to check it out.”
Handing the binoculars off to one of the crew members, he strode with determination off the bridge, heading directly to the ship’s launch. His well-trained crew scurried about. Joe appeared at his side and they watched from the rail as the small rigid hull sped off in the direction of the dinghy. His pulse rose and the dampness on his back soaked through his short-sleeved shirt.
“So what do you think?” Joe leaned on the rail, uncertainty clear in the crinkle of his brows.
“Don’t know, dammit.” Eric focused on the scene unfolding in the distance. Again he commandeered the binoculars from Joe and scrutinized the three-man team approaching, then securing the boat to the dinghy.
His senses were keen; over the years, he’d learned to trust them. The uneasiness that crept its way into his gut, the hairs now standing up on the back of his neck and the racing of his heart; this unshakable feeling was telling him that things were about to change—drastically. Puzzled, he felt the mounting frustration build inside, along with something else he could not quite put his finger on. Shaking his head, he realized it was not a feeling of dread.
The crackle of the radio interrupted his speculation. A voice from the rescue team came over the line. “There’s someone in here, a woman, and she’s in bad shape.”




Friday, August 21, 2009

My author day is Monday!

I hope you'll come chat with me at RoRR Chatters on Monday so I'm not too lonely! I promise there'll be fun and prizes!
If you're not already part of this Yahoo chat group, you need to sign up ahead of time so you'll be approved in time!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Diva day again!


Visit me at Popculturedivas today to learn about the amazing things Twitter can do.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I have a release date for Wilderness Girl!

Freya's Bower will release Wilderness Girl on Sept. 8! But it's actually available for preorder now.
A bit of a walk on the wild side for me, Wilderness Girl's my first erotic romance. A "category novel" length, according to Freya's guidelines (slightly longer than a novella).
Here's the story blurb:
When Dana’s boyfriend drags her to Wilderness Outfitters on a Friday night, she wonders why so many people find The Great Outdoors so great. Until she meets Hank— six feet of tanned muscle, wrapped in a faded black T-shirt and jean shorts loose on his hips. Eyes like wildfire burning in a sun-kissed face. Grinning like a fox.
After her boyfriend dumps her in the parking lot, humiliation becomes gratitude when Hank invites her to his favorite camping spot, and she seizes on the impulse to change her boring life.
A web programmer, Dana’s outdoor experience had consisted of walks to and from her car. Alone on a mountaintop, as she struggles to set up camp, a five-foot snake doesn’t seem a welcome sight: until Hank comes to her rescue.
He initiates her to the pleasures of hiking, campfires, and Harley rides down winding roads. Making love beneath a starry sky, Hank awakens a primal Wilderness Girl in Dana she never knew existed.
Their weekend feels like a fantasy, which proves all too true on their return to civilization. As the daily grind eats into their time together, their romance begins to come untethered.
Will her high-tech lifestyle clash with his low-tech one? Can she manage to recapture the passion of the wilderness in their city existence?




Monday, August 17, 2009

Welcome special guest author Emma Lai!

Cate: Please welcome Emma Lai. Emma, will you please share a short bio with us?
Emma: My life has become very interesting this year. After finishing my comprehensives in November, I started looking for a job that would utilize my new degree in International Relations. However, the economy slowed down and then surprise, I turned up pregnant. My husband and I decided I should just go ahead and take the year off, enjoy being pregnant, and see where my writing took me. Now, here I am, a published author!

Cate: Interesting indeed! Many congrats! On all counts. My goodness, you’re busy.
Please tell us about His Ship, Her Fantasy and where it's available.
Emma: His Ship, Her Fantasy is available through The Wild Rose Press at www.thewildrosepress.com/his-ship-her-fantasy-p-3597.html.

Here's the story blurb:
Ellie Woods is in love…with a ship. When an argument with the ship results in a bump on the head, she finds herself in the strong arms of Alastair. But who is he and where did he come from?
Alastair has loved Ellie from afar for years, but duty has kept him from revealing himself to her. When a grave threat reveals his true identity, he hopes that Ellie will choose reality over fantasy.

Cate: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Author: In fourth grade, we were assigned the task of writing a children’s book. Mine was called Glartian the Martian. It was a lot of fun to write, but when I tried my hand at more mature (high school romance) writing, I failed miserably. I didn’t try and write anything besides academic papers and poetry after that.
Last year, while studying for my comps, the urge to write possessed me and I started cranking out stories to entertain my husband and myself. My mother-in-law, who is familiar with the publishing industry, being a published author herself and friends of multiple published authors, encouraged me to submit. So, I did. The Wild Rose Press picked up my first submission and I’ve been moving forward ever since.

Cate: What a great story! I’m so glad your mother-in-law encouraged you. What genres does she write? Any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Emma: My mother-in-law is published in sci-fi/fantasy. However, she’s the only other person in my family who is published. But, my husband has been known to write me little excerpts every now and again.

Cate: Very sweet! Maybe you two could collaborate on a story.
Describe your writing in three words.
Emma: Fast-paced. Edgy. Thought-provoking. At least, these are the things I strive for. LOL!

Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Emma: I did before I got pregnant. Between eating and napping, I try to get as much writing and promo in as I can.

Cate: “Baby brain” obviously hasn’t affected you!
How do you pick your character’s names?
Emma: For the Guardians, I tried to pick names with underlying and relevant meanings. For example…Alastair means Protector and he is a Shield, charged with protecting innocents. Their mates just named themselves.

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Emma: Right now, the most challenging aspect is finding time to write. Before I was pregnant, it was remembering to take time to eat, which is necessary to prevent mental fog.
The easiest aspect is coming up with story ideas. I have about 15 stories in various stages and a book full of story ideas.

Cate: Wonderful—a backlog of stories! Enough to keep you going between diaper changes and feedings. ;)
What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Emma: The most rewarding aspect for me is bringing characters to life and making readers want to be involved in those lives.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Emma: LOL! My characters often tell me their stories in my dreams. It’s a challenge to remember everything. They are definitely very demanding people. If I don’t tell their story, or at least capture the outline, they bug me day and night.

Cate: Amazing, isn’t it, how fictional people can be more assertive than actual ones sometimes!
What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Emma: Since I write shorts…it’s definitely where’s the rest? Shorts are just a glimpse into the characters’ lives. It’s like meeting someone for the first time. If they tell you something interesting about themselves, you’re more likely to remember them and want to know more about them. I try to leave the reader wanting more.

Cate: Good strategy! I’m sure they’ll clamor for more after His Ship, Her Fantasy!
Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Emma: There truly are so many. I love C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, Lewis Carroll, Raymond E. Feist, and Steven Erikson. I follow dozens of romance authors, but I will always pick up Eloisa James, Lisa Kleypas, and Stephanie Laurens.
Right now, I’m not reading anything published. I’ve got a pile of TBR, but I’m trying to work on finishing the third story in the Mates of the Guardians series, do edits on an erotic Regency, and critique two stories.

Cate: What impact do electronic readers create on the bottom line for authors? Or in people/the environment in general?
Emma: I’m still evaluating the world of e-publishing, but as an author, nothing beats the sense of family and personal attention I’ve found with The Wild Rose Press. I think electronic reading material is a great boon to the environment…less paper out there. It’s also easier to carry multiple stories with you in a smaller space…makes packing easier!

Cate: I agree, TWRP has a great community of authors!
What's next for you?
Emma: His Hope, Her Salvation, the second short in my series is scheduled for release on December 16th. Before that, I’m having my baby sometime around the beginning of October. I’d like to finish Books 4 and 5 of my short series and the edits of my erotic Regency before then.

Cate: Very impressive!
Where can readers find you on the web?
Emma: I host author interviews on a weekly basis at my blog…http://emmalaiwrites.blogspot.com. I also blog about general writing topics every Tuesday at the Roses of Houston blog…http://rosesofhouston.blogspot.com. Finally, I have a web page…www.emmalaiwrites.com.

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers, Emma?
Emma: Do readers prefer short stories, novellas, or full lengths and why?

Cate: Readers, Emma is giving away multiple books (to include reader’s choice of one of my TWRP books! Thanks Emma!) to random commenters throughout the posts she’s doing during the week... so start commenting. She'll pick a winner on Sunday, August 23rd around 7 am EST.



Saturday, August 15, 2009

Welcome special guest author Clare Austin!

Cate: Please welcome Clare Austin. Clare, will you please share a short bio with us?
[Clare]: Hi, thanks for having me here today. I currently live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with my husband. We are enjoying a hard earned empty nest after raising a big, loud and musical bunch of sons. I love horse riding and we have three lovely horses who “own us” and a cairn terrier, Maggie. I play violin and love to travel, swim in the sea, and walk in the hills of both Colorado and Ireland.

Cate: Tell us about Butterfly and where it's available.
[Clare]: My first fiction work was just released by The Wild Rose Press. The title is Butterfly and it is the first story in The Fadό Trilogy. Fadό is an Irish word meaning “once upon a time.” It is available from the publisher at www.thewildrosepress.com or from Amazon, Borders and B&N websites. I will have it in brick and mortar stores later this month.

Cate: Oo wonderful, a series.
At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Clare: I submitted my first manuscript to Doubleday when I was eight. I don’t have it now, nor do I have the rejection letter. But I remember the kind person who told me to keep writing and someday I would be published. Four years ago I wrote my first novel. Then I worried that I didn’t have another story in me so I wrote three more. Butterfly was my fourth book and my first sale. It all happened very fast. I had some rejection letters, but I think I was lucky because I have not had to wait years to be published.

Cate: My, you were a girl who knew what you wanted! That's great. I'm glad you received proper encouragement.
Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
[Clare]: My husband writes non-fiction for magazines and he has one published book about mountain climbing. Our youngest son writes complex scientific articles for journals associated with his field of study. So, perhaps there is a gene for writing that we passed on to him. I prefer to think it is just because we have always had books as part of our lives and children learn what they live.

Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
[Clare]: Lyrical, passionate, humorous.

Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
[Clare]: Lately my routine has been a wreck because of the time it takes for promotion. I generally write for a couple of hours in the morning and then again in the afternoon or evening. When I am really into a story, I am hard to rip free of my keyboard and can write for eight or ten hours straight. I try not to do that because I once had eye and neck strain so bad my face went numb!

Cate: Oh dear! But I understand the drive, believe me.
How do you pick the character’s names?
[Clare]: When I am writing about the Irish, the names I pick almost always have a deeper meaning connected to the story. Flannery, the name of my main character in Butterfly, has meanings that come out as part of an admonition from her sister near the end of the book. I like to play with names, use them to tell you something about my character, their background, heritage and traditions within their culture and family.

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
[Clare]: By far the most challenging aspect has been promo. I am new at it and the learning curve has been steep. Writers by nature are a bit reclusive. We don’t like to talk…we like to write. When I did my first book talk I was terrified. It gets easier, but it will never be my favorite thing.
The easiest thing for me is story ideas. I’ve got about a million of them. Some are on the desktop of my computer. I’ll get to them someday.

Cate: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
[Clare]: I just love it when people enjoy my writing. I like to think that someone would pick up Butterfly and have a good laugh…and maybe shed tear or two as my characters work their way into her heart.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
[Clare]: Absolutely. And, I loved living with Flannery, Cade, and the folks at O’Fallon’s Pub. My next book, Angel’s Share was much harder. One of the characters is a very creepy guy and I actually got a bit depressed because getting into the head of a criminal was difficult for me. Just like you get along with real people in your world, you either get along with your characters or you tolerate them until you can get them locked up.

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
[Clare]: Once, early in my writing career, a woman told me I write like Nora Roberts! I’m not sure she knew what she was talking about, but it was a great boost to my ego. The most frequent word readers have used to describe my work is “lyrical.” That’s nice, especially since I’m writing about musicians.

Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
[Clare]: Right now I am reading a lovely book called On Celtic Tides by Chris Duff. I read just about everything Ken Follett writes. I love Diana Gabaldon’s stories and her writing style. I have read The Time Traveler’s Wife three times, but I’m not sure I want to see the movie. Maeve Binchy is an inspiration to me not only because she is Irish, but she can really spin a tale. I like to read outside the genre I write in. I read a lot of non-fiction and I love stories about Irish history…true or speculative.


Cate: Loved Time Traveler's Wife! Can't wait for her new one. I'm hoping they treat the movie well too.
What impact do electronic readers create on the bottom line for authors? Or in people/the environment in general?
[Clare]: I want a Kindle for Christmas. I listen to audio books everywhere I go and I think electronic is here to stay. Save a tree, read a POD. That’s my mantra. It’s ridiculous to print millions of books and put them in warehouses.

Cate: What's next for you?
[Clare]: I am currently working on the third book in my trilogy. After that I have a couple of fun ideas I will develop. One is a time travel Irish story. It takes the heroine from 21st century Wall Street to a 1916 County Kerry cow path. The historical center piece is the Irish Revolution and the Easter uprising. The other book I will continue to research is called Ground Effect and it is a novel about the Women’s Air Service Pilots during WW 2. It is more mainstream fiction than romance, but it is a story I would love to tell.

Cate: Where can you be found on the web?
[Clare]: www.clareaustin.com is my website. I am on Myspace at www.myspace.com/clare_austin, I am also on Facebook and Twitter, although I don’t understand how twitter works. I have played around in Second Life, but I tried to change my clothes, couldn’t figure out how to put new ones on and am wandering around in my knickers!
If anyone has a question or comment and you would like to email me, my address is authorclare@gmail.com

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
[Clare]: Sure. What do you look for in a book? If you have read Butterfly, what made you buy it? And, what about it would encourage you to read the next one?

Cate: Readers, Clare is giving away a book to a random commenter... so start commenting. She'll pick a winner at the end of the tour, so please make sure you leave a way to contact you.

Excerpt
Flannery swung through the door into the dining room with a flourish but nearly tripped over a bar stool when she saw the now familiar profile, broad shoulders, and curly dark hair of the man who had come to see her sister.

“Sufferin’ ducks, and if it isn’t himself come to brighten the day at O’Fallon’s.” Cade was as
compelling as she remembered. Today he was dressed in jeans, a black knit shirt, leather bomber jacket, and a slow smile that would stop a saint in her tracks.

“What can I get you?” She thought a couple of shots of good Irish whiskey would sort him out.

“I’d try the fish an’ chips if you would join me?”

She gave him one of her best smiles, turned toward the kitchen, and yelled, “Hey, Jamie, I’m taking my break. Give us a one an’ one, a serving of the bangers and mushy peas, a couple o’ Harps, and an Inishowen, would you there?”

“Anything for the love of my life,” Jamie called from behind the door.

“Stow it, Jamie Mac!” Flannery shot back, then turned to Cade. “He’s always good fer craic, our Jamie.”

“Craic? Inishowen? One and one? Would you like to translate?”

“Whatta ya mean ‘translate’? You speak English don’tcha?” she teased. “Okay...I’m just giving you a time. ‘Craic’ is fun, ‘Inishowen’ is a whiskey from County Donegal, and a ‘one and one’ is what we, the feckin’ Irish, call fish ‘n chips.”

Flannery’s pulse quickened at the way his dark eyes, shaded by long lashes, swept lazily over her, undressing her, right here in a public place. Yes, as her girlfriends back home liked to say, “He was a ride.”


Friday, August 14, 2009

More great reviews for Going with Gravity!

I love it when email brings good surprises!

The Romance Studio gave 4.5 hearts to Going with Gravity, and a great review.
Here's part of what the review said:
Cate Masters took this plot and worked it into a great work even though it was not a long book. This story covered so much territory and was so compelling I did not want to put it down. The actions taken by the couple, the employers, and the tabloid photographers were so believable. It was as if I was there watching the story unfold. The conflict was great. The sexual encounters were sizzling and the ending was unexpected. There were moments of poignant emotional conflict.

WDRF gave a Memorable Good rating, summing their review up this way: Fast paced and well written this book is a really good summer read and to let you know that romance is still alive and can happen when you least expect it.
What happens is what storybook romances are made of and what everyone hopes for in their lives. But, you will have to read this romantic and heartwarming novel to learn just when and why Allison realizes she might have met the right man, and why Wes made sure to meet her on that fateful flight.

And this weekend, Going with Gravity will be among the books up for Book of the Week! Here's the link. Wouldn't it be cool to be Book of the Week!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Welcome special guest author Douglas Carlton Abrams!

Cate: Please welcome my special guest, Douglas Carlton Abrams. Doug, will you please share a short bio with us?
Doug: Thanks, Cate. I was born in New York City, the child of two publishers, so I guess it was inevitable that I would be drawn to books. It was not an easy road, however, because I had dyslexia. I wanted to explore the publishing world—to enter the belly of the beast—so I became a book editor and eventually a literary agent. My goal has always been to work with visionary authors who are trying to create a wiser, healthier, and more just world.

Cate: Tell us about Eye of the Whale and where it's available.
Doug: Eye of the Whale is an eco-thriller about a marine biologist named Elizabeth who must risk everything to decipher the mysterious song of a trapped whale and its implications for human survival. Elizabeth has spent her career trying to crack humpback whale communication, and in particular their song, the most complex in the animal world. When the song changes dramatically and suddenly, she must figure out why and what the meaning of the new sounds might be. She has to crack the code to save the whale, and ultimately she discovers much more.
It is available from bookstores everywhere and from Amazon.

Cate: Sounds like a great read! Readers, you can sample a few chapters here.
At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Doug: I’ve been writing fiction since I was eleven years old. I grew up in a publishing family, so perhaps I was destined to write. I’ve also had the opportunity to work in publishing, so I experienced the Editor’s Life as well as the Writer’s Life. I’ve always wanted to be a novelist, and after twenty-nine years of writing in stolen nights and weekends, I published my first novel. My novel—The Lost Diary of Don Juan—was bought by Atria/Simon & Schuster in a two book deal and was translated—to my amazement—into thirty languages.

Cate: I loved The Lost Diary of Don Juan! I highly recommend it. Can't wait to read The Eye of the Whale.
Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Doug: Both my parents have written non-fiction books.

Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
Doug: It’s hard to describe your own writing; it’s like describing your own face, but I will tell you the words that I hear most often from readers: Enthralling, Moving, Cinematic. I try to write books that appeal to all the sense and to the heart and mind.

Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Doug: Typically I write in the morning, but when the Muse calls, I must answer at any time, day or night.

Cate: How many hours a day do you write?
Doug: It really depends on what stage of a project I’m working. For many years, I could only write in the stolen moments when I wasn’t reading other peoples books, but now I’m able to write in much longer stretches. I still have to run my literary agency, so usually its about four to six hours a day.

Cate: How do you pick the character’s names?
Doug: It’s like looking at a newborn as saying, “You look like an Elizabeth.” I’ve always been daunted by the task of picking names for my children—for a soul and a life. It’s also a responsibility to pick a name for a character.

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Doug: Story and Character. Creating a story that continually twists and turns and surprises and enthralls, and creating characters that leap off the page and come to life. People tell me they really feel like they know my characters as people. One reader of The Lost Diary of Don Juan said he felt like he could have a beer with the guy. If readers feel they could sit down and have a beer with your characters you are doing something right, especially since my character was from the 16th century character.

Cate: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Doug: Certainly hearing from readers how the book has affected them and their life. Also, I go into a story to find an answer to a question I desperately need to know the answer to. In the Lost Diary, the question was whether we can marry passion and compassion together for a lifetime in one relationship. With Eye of the Whale, the question was whether we can survive as a species and if so what is stronger than greed, fear, or denial. I found an answer that has changed the way I look at my life and that I’m hearing from readers is changing the way they look at theirs.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Doug: Absolutely, I get haunted by them. Actually, my first novel woke me up as if someone was shaking me, and it was as if Don Juan was whispering the first draft into my ear. I’d say that my characters literally enter my body and I become them—male, female, whatever.

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Doug: My favorite recent comment was from someone who came to one of my readings and said, “You have to tell people how fun it is. That damn book kept me up all night.” I loved that.

Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Doug: I love writers from Gabriel Garcia Marquez to Michael Crichton. Honestly, I’m not reading anyone now because when I’m involved with a novel, I have eyes only for my own characters. Also, I’m a terribly slow reader, perhaps because of the dyslexia, and so I’m a very impatient reader. If I’m not enthralled and moved and inspired all at the same time I can’t keep reading, so this is what I require of my own novels.

Cate: What's next for you?
Doug: Not sure yet. As I mentioned, all my books come from a question, and I’m not sure what question will compel me so completely that I will have to put sanity, family, and everything aside to write.

Cate: Where can you be found on the web?
Doug: My website is here: www.douglascarltonabrams.com

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Doug: I’d love to know what novels have changed their lives and what they look for in a novel. In terms of readers of my books, I love to know what they were drawn to most, knowing what people love tells you a great deal about them and it also helps me to know my own writing more deeply.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Three reasons to be excited today!

First, I woke up to find a great review from LASR - 4.5 books for Going with Gravity! Here's part of what the review said:
"If you are looking for a romance story which can make you believe that love is real, that it can sneak up on you when you least expect it and thrill to its force as a powerful whirlwind for change, then you are going enjoy reading Going with Gravity."
Thanks, Xeranthemum!

Second, my interview with Dionysus is now up at You Gotta Read Reviews. I hope you'll check it out. He's a very interesting guy... er, god! Kinda looks like Antonio Banderas, too. Dionysus is pushing for a rewrite of The Lure of the Vine - not possible now, though I'm kinda likin' the sequel idea.

Third, when I checked The Wild Rose Press site this morning, Seventh Heaven was still the number one bestseller! For the fourth straight week! I'm afraid to let it sink in for fear it will go away then. :)

Oh, and Freya's Bower posted their inaugural author interview with... guess who!

Hope everyone's having as happy a hump day as me!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Welcome special guest author Diane Craver!

Cate: Please welcome Diane Craver. Diane, will you please share a short bio with us?
Diane: Cate, thank you so much for having me here today. I grew up on a farm outside of Findlay, Ohio. I often acted out characters from my own stories in the backyard. Before I got started on my writing career, I taught school and directed school plays. I started writing nonfiction after our first daughter was born. Later I switched to fiction. It kept me sane after having six children. LOL I write contemporary romance, inspirational romance, chick-lit mystery and women's fiction. I've been married to the love of my life for thirty-four years. We live in southwestern Ohio.

Cate: Tell us about latest release with link and where it's available.
Diane: Whitney in Charge is my latest release. It's a story about sisters and their family bond. The focus had to be on the youngest sister, Whitney, since I'm the little sis in my family. I could easily write how the older sisters like to mother the youngest sis. I also enjoyed writing about Whitney falling in love again.
Whitney in Charge is available at www.desertbreezepublishing and also is at Amazon in Kindle format.
Book Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRIqajANaV4

Cate: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Diane: I wrote little plays when I was young because my siblings were so much older, so I had some free time to be creative. Here’s my call story…I almost deleted “my call” before realizing what it was. I didn’t get a phone call but an email from an editor at Samhain Publishing. It was unbelievable because I didn’t see the email the day it arrived in my inbox. I don’t know how I missed it. It came on March 2nd, 2006, and a couple of days later I was busy deleting emails and almost hit the delete button when I glanced at it. Total shock hit me when I read, “I am pleased to offer you a contract for No Greater Loss. Attached is the contract.”

Cate: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Diane: No, I'm the only one.

Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
Diane: Emotional, romantic, fun.

Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Diane: Not really. I wish I did. I probably do most of my writing in the morning hours, but not always.

Cate: How do you pick the character’s names?
Diane: I check to see what names were popular in the year the characters were born. There's an online search under social security for the most popular names in each decade. I also look at baby name books, and try different names out before I get the right feel for the character.

Cate: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Diane: I have a hard time with smooth transitions and getting the character from one spot to another. It's hard sometimes for me to shift easily from one image to the next so that the reader's train of thought will remain focused. I love writing dialogue so that is probably the easiest for me.

Cate: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Diane: I'll give you two rewarding aspects. I like to do the research for a new book, and it's pretty neat when I get lost in my story as I write.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Diane: My characters become so real to me that it is downright scary. LOL When I finished No Greater Loss, I was actually depressed for a few hours because I loved the main character, Jennifer, so much that I wished I could be her.

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Diane: A reviewer said, "A FIERY SECRET is a wonderful small town journalistic investigative mystery starring two likable protagonists and a horde of eccentric Midwesterners." Her saying that I had a lot of eccentric people surprised me because I only thought of a couple of characters being odd.

Cate: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Diane: I just finished Mary Jane Clark's book, Dying for Mercy. I have many favorite authors but some of them are: Mary Higgins Clark, Carol Higgins Clark, LaVyrle Spencer, Jude Deveraux, Sophie Kinsella, Judith McNaught, and Sandra Brown.

Cate: What impact do electronic readers create on the bottom line for authors? Or in people/the environment in general?
Diane: I think they are growing in popularity. I don't have a reader yet but would like to purchase one sometime soon. But many people still like to hold a print copy in their hands so both ebooks and print books will continue to have a place in the literary world. I just wish more people would purchase ebooks instead of waiting for them to be published in print. Many of my friends still won't buy ebooks.

Cate: What's next for you?
Diane: I've written several story ideas down for future books, but haven't definitely decided which one to pursue. One is romantic suspense and the other one is about a family going through an unimaginable accident.

Cate: Where can you be found on the web?
Diane: Please visit my website www.dianecraver.com and my blog www.dianecraver.com/blog. I have contests at both places a lot, excerpts, and other information.

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Diane: I love to hear what readers think of my books, so please email me at DianeCraver@cinci.rr.com. I always love hearing from readers.

Cate: Readers, Diane is giving away a free download of Whitney in Charge and a $5 GC to Amazon to one lucky commenter, randomly drawn from the comments during the week. She'll pick a winner on August 15th book around 7 pm EST.

EXCERPT:
After they left the restaurant and were outside, Jack stopped Whitney by a water fountain. He gently gripped her elbow and turned her to face him, and her smile stole his breath. The lights in the fountain twinkled in her green eyes. She was a knockout in her sexy dress. The hemline stopped a few inches above her knees, showing off her long, tanned legs.

“What?” she asked.

“I’ve wanted to kiss you all evening.” He saw her green eyes brightened with pleasure.

She gave him a wide smile. “I love the sound of running water, so this is a perfect spot for our first kiss.”

He crushed her to him and his mouth swooped down to capture hers. Currents of desire raced through him as Whitney gave herself freely to the fervor of his kiss. He could kiss Whitney’s full lips all night. When he raised his lips from hers, he gazed into her eyes and felt happiness in seeing warmth and intensity there.

In a breathless soft voice, she said, “How about another kiss for the road?”

While he did exactly what the lady wanted, Jack wondered how much it’d cost to get a fountain installed in his backyard.


Monday, August 10, 2009

One of the reasons I love The New York Times

Sundays were special in my house. My father went out early to church, and would bring home Sunday newspapers. The Trenton Times, sometimes The Philadelphia Inquirer, but always The New York Times. I paged through it like the treasure it was. The articles may have been over my head, but I knew lyrical writing when I read it, even as a kid. Photo captions captivated me with concise, but imaginative, descriptions. Opening The New York Times Magazine was like stepping into a magical world, a fantasy where people owned etched Steuben Glass, and ads portrayed products that could make you feel as if you’d gone back in time to the Taj Mahal. Oh yes, the Times inspired many bad poems when I was young.
I’m not sure when the Times began its Writers on Writing series. I missed most of them until I learned they’d been compiled into a handy volume. I eagerly awaited the second volume, and sent for it right away.
Just yesterday, I found a link to all the essays, supposedly (it looks to be missing a few, to me, but hey, you can’t have it all.)
Also yesterday I happened across Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing. Rules Mr. Leonard claims help him “remain invisible when I'm writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what's taking place in the story.” Something I know I need to work on. I'd suggest reading the entire article to get the full effect, but boiled down, the rules are:
1. Never open a book with weather.
2. Avoid prologues.
3. Never use a verb other than ''said'' to carry dialogue.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb ''said'' . . .
5. Keep your exclamation points under control.
6. Never use the words ''suddenly'' or ''all hell broke loose.''
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things. (Unless you’re Margaret Atwood)
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
The most basic rule, according to Leonard, is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
Not everyone can write like Elmore, and not everyone should. Apply the rules to your own writing, though, and a clean, clear voice will emerge.

And of course, because everything in the universe can be found on YouTube these days, here’s a Writers on Writing video, consisting of mostly one-line quotes from writers.


The Epictetus quote displayed is one of several I have taped to my writing desk. The others are:
It is with words as with sunbeams, the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. - Robert Southey
The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. - Mark Twain
Chain that muse to your desk and get the job done. - Barbara Kingsolver
I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper. - Steve Martin


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Giving away a PDF of Picture This!

To celebrate yesterday's release day, I'm giving away an ecopy of Picture This, available now from Eternal Press and soon in print from Amazon and Barnes and Noble!
An excerpt and the trailer appear in the post just below.
Set in Pennsylvania’s capital city of Harrisburg, Picture This follows award-winning journalist Sydney Welles in her quest to write attention-getting news stories, and win the attention of photographer Ben Taylor. Ben’s funny, intelligent, loves the same music… bands like Soul Custody. Yes, Soul Custody’s an actual musical group from New Jersey. When I was young, one of its members, Ed Wall, used to come to my house and sounded just like The Young Rascals’ lead singer (whose name escapes me, and is so not the point here!). My brother banged away on his drums, and I was in heaven, listening to great live music. I don’t get back to listen to many shows, but one of these days, I’ll catch up to one of their shows. Michael Eli was kind enough to give me permission to use the band’s name in Picture This. Thanks guys!
Music has always been a huge part of my life, and songs of certain decades provide the soundtrack for my life. What about you? Do certain songs inspire you? Leave me a comment and tomorrow night, I’ll give away a PDF copy of Picture This to a random commenter. Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Release day for Picture This!

Eternal Press releases Picture This today!
This story went through many revisions before acceptance. Not until I imagined Robert Downey Jr. as the hero did the story finally come together. So thanks, Robert. And if you're looking for a new project, you'd be perfect for this role. :) With Rachel Weisz as your leading lady (she starred in the version in my head, anyway).



Here's an excerpt:
Sydney didn’t like the look in Claudia’s eye. Like she was about to fire her. “Uh oh. What’s going on?”
Claudia took off her reading glasses, always a precursor to a delicate conversation. Never a good sign. “Do you remember Ben Taylor?”
Sydney released the breath she held. “Is that a trick question? We only have a conversation about him once a week or so.”
She hadn’t seen him in almost a year, a night that began with excitement and promise, continued blissfully for hours, and ended like a train wreck, with Ben dragged from the wreckage by another woman. Possibly his fiancé. Sydney could never quite learn the true story, but that fateful night stood out in her memory as a marker. The beginning of the end. After that, all her dates ended on a sour note. Ben Taylor had opened the flood gates of Bad Date Hell. From those gates streamed a neverending lineup of ill-suited matches, men who she should never have wasted her time on, but who each looked so tempting, she couldn’t resist trying. That was the thing about Hell, though, wasn’t it? People ended up there because the sin always seemed like a good idea at the time.
Claudia pursed her lips. “Yes, I know. The thing is… how do I put this?”
Sydney tensed. Claudia was not one to dance around a topic. Her style was more blunt – the resulting blunt force trauma notwithstanding. Something must be wrong. Terribly wrong.
She blanched. “Is he… “ Her voice trailed off. She couldn’t finish. Ben must be dead. Why else would her editor – her friend, her confidant, her mentor – be looking at her with such pity?
“He’s here.” Claudia watched her as if ready to catch her woozy body.
Those two short words snapped Sydney to attention. “Here?”


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Share your writing tips, and you could win!

Do you have a great tip you'd like to share with other writers? Post it at The Roses of Houston blog, and you might win a $50 Amazon certificate! Be sure to comment by Aug. 31st.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Welcome special guest author Christine Clemetson!

Cate: It's a pleasure to introduce Christine Clemetson. Hello Christine, will you please share a short bio with us?
Christine: Thank you so much Cate for having me here today!
I grew up in a small beach town in New Jersey, and I spent most of my time reading on my beach towel or on our family’s boat while my brothers were fishing! This is where I knew I wanted to create my own stories. As I earned a degree in Literature/Language and developed a career as a technical writer to support myself while I pursued my dream, I kept writing and learning the craft of putting together a good story. About seven years ago, I started submitting for publication and never looked back!

Cate: Oh, you're a Jersey girl like me-though I'm from the Delaware River side, another inspiring area.
Tell us about A Daughter's Promise and where it's available.
Christine: My first novel, A Daughter’s Promise came out from The Wild Rose Press. It’s available at The Wild Rose Rose website, Amazon and most bookstores. It’s also available in ebook or paperback.



Cate: And it's garnered a great review recently - congrats on that! Long and Short Romance Reviews gave A Daughter's Promise 5 books.
At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Christine: I discovered writing very early on. I had so many stories floating around in my head and I started getting them down on paper. When I got the call that the Wild Rose Press wanted to publish my story, my neighborhood heard the shouts! I ran to the bus stop with my contract flying in the air. At that moment, I felt like I had won an Olympic medal.

Cate: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Christine: I’m the only writer, but we do have a lot of creativity, such as music and art.

Cate: Describe your writing in three words.
Christine: Emotional. Intriguing. Inspired.

Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Christine: I juggle my writing time around work. So a typical day is writing early in the morning and then again at night. Mornings seem to be the time when I get the bulk of “new” writing done. There is nothing on earth like writing a really great scene with a good cup of coffee on the side!

Cate: How do you pick your character’s names?
Christine: I usually let the character idea roll around in my head for a while, then I’ll look at baby name books. Since I have an idea of what kind of character he/she will be, I look through the names until one seems to fit.

Cate: What do you find the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Christine: The most challenging aspect of writing for me is toning down the plot points. As a pantser (writing with minimal outline), sometimes I get carried away and try to include too many plot lines. I usually don’t see it until I step back from the manuscript and look at the plot as a whole.

Cate: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Christine: One of my favorite aspects of writing is putting the five senses into the story. When the reader can feel, hear, smell, touch and see the same things as the characters, it becomes easy to connect with the story.

Cate: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
Christine: Yes! I feel as if I grow as a writer as my characters grow. I become absorbed into their lives until the story ends.

Cate: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Christine: My brother asked, “Does this come in cliff notes?” LOL! You can always count on your family to keep you grounded! But seriously, I’ve received so many generous comments. I received an email from someone in my neighborhood that said she was proud to know me and proud of what I had accomplished. That was very touching for me.

Cate: What a nice thing for your neighbor to say!
Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Christine: Right now, on my nightstand is M. Flagg’s Retribution and Nicholas Sparks’ The Lucky One. I would have to say my favorite author of all time is LaVryle Spencer. Each one of her books swept me away!

Cate: As an author published with an epress, what impact do you see electronic readers creating on the bottom line for authors? Or in people/the environment in general?
Christine: I feel that electronic readers are leading the direction of the publishing industry, and they provide another avenue for readers to gain access to their favorite authors.

Cate: What's next for you?
Christine: Currently, I’m marketing a contemporary suspense set in the Florida Everglades, along with a contemporary romance set in New Jersey. Stay tuned!

Cate: Yay for New Jersey!
Where can readers find you on the web?
Christine: Please visit me at www.christineclemetson.com or http://www.christineclemetson.blogspot.com/.

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers, Christine?
Christine: I love to hear back from readers! You can email me at chris@christineclemetson.com.

Here's an excerpt from A Daughter's Promise - enjoy!

They both knew Serene’s turn had come. She took in a deep breath and touched his arms in a stiff embrace. She hugged him the way she had rehearsed in her head over and over, the way a mother would hug her son going off to war.

“I don’t care who sees,” he said gruffly, pulling her closer. He pushed her chin up with his
fingertips, and bent his head to kiss her.

She took his lips, his body, all of him, into her heart for the last time. Feeling the rapid beating in his chest, she fought the urge to mold her most intimate part against his.

When their lips parted, his warm breath on her neck made her body shiver. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she buried her face into his jacket. “I’m not ashamed about
what I said to you last night or what happened between us.” Her voice cracked. “It’s a sin, I know, but it was the most beautiful—”

“Ashamed? I don’t think I’ll ever have that kind of love again.”

Trembling, she stood back a little, clinging to her emotions with the delicacy of a spider web. “But you were right. We made the most logical decision.”

“Jesus, Serry. I want to tell you so bad that I—”

“You’re all set, then?” Sam said, coming back into the house.

Serene let go of Miles, letting her one finger intertwine with one of his pinky fingers. She couldn’t let him go.

Slowly, he released her and went to the door, putting one foot on the outside pavement before hesitating and turning back. His eyes were red, and she clutched the stair banister to keep from running to him. How much she loved him would be a secret
she’d take to the grave.

Carrying a bottle of whiskey, Marcus passed him at the door and gave him a friendly slap on the back. “I came to give you a goodbye, Coulson.”

Serene stood up straight and froze.

Miles jerked himself away. “Change of heart about me?”

His answer was Marcus’ deep kiss on Serene’s cheek and an arm around her waist. “I realized, Coulson, that I’m proud of her for taking the responsibility for you. I thought it was about time that I offered my apologies for the undiplomatic way I acted. We’re all in this for a cause, no? Why don’t we share a bottle to celebrate?”

“No, your change of heart doesn’t rub me the right way.” Miles offered an apologetic glance to Serene and then shifted his gaze back to Marcus. “You hurt her, and I’ll hurt you. You understand me?”

“Have a safe trip,” Marcus drawled.

Serene watched the driver help him in and her knees weakened. As the truck’s engine started, she braced herself against the wall.

“Don’t worry. Serene. Just think of this as a wedding present from me. No more worries about your American. He is well now and gone for good. Your only thanks is to marry me.”

She couldn’t hear him. Her throat ached and she made no effort to wipe the tears spilling freely from her eyes. She started for the door, but he grabbed her by the shoulders.




Sunday, August 2, 2009

Romancing the Hero - contemporary fantasy

Romancing the Hero

Contemporary fantasy with romantic elements

Revised and re-released
from Smashwords
and Amazon 

Blurb

Jody Feather’s tired of only writing about romance...
Readers love her delectable hero, Jake Emerson. He’s the kind of man who knows exactly how to please a woman. The kind of man who doesn’t exist. Jody’s too busy writing about delicious heroes to find one of her own. And never expects one to find her.

Jake Emerson to the rescue...
When a man shows up on her doorstep claiming to be Jake Emerson, this would-be hero is everything Jody imagined him to be. Bonus—he brings out her forgotten flirty side, and makes her feel worthy of love again. She stops doubting his story, but does believing in Jake mean she’s lost her sanity? Or will it mean losing him for real?





Reviews (for previous version)

A steamy cast of characters pulls the reader right into Romancing the Hero, and doesn’t let go until the final page. Cate Masters’ romantic novella, an homage to the classic romance movie Romancing the Stone, will make you believe that your fantasies can come true.
The well-written characters--feisty Jody Feather, best-selling romance writer who’s dissatisfied with her love life and perfect hero Jake Emerson--are captivating from their initial meeting

The novella leads you excellently right down the garden path--is Jake really an actor, or is he stud-come-to-life Jake? I really liked how Ms. Masters’ tight plotting keeps you guessing, up to the very end. 
Ms. Masters is a very good author and Romancing the Hero is a fun, well-written story.
Long and Short Reviews, 3.5 stars 




Who would Cate cast in these roles? See the Casting Call here.



Excerpt

“Jody Feather?” The deep voice rushed at her like a hot breeze, reverberated through her, and stopped her where she stood.
“Ye—” Her gaze climbed the long legs clad in well-fitting jeans, pumped torso outlined through his tight black tee, to the gorgeous model face. Someone might have stolen a cardboard cutout of the perfect hero and breathed life into it, and that’s who stood on her doorstep.
“Yowsa,” she said on an exhale.
He cocked a delighted brow. “Pardon?”
“May I help you?” Please say yes.
“I believe it’s the other way around.”
“Really?” Thankyouthankyouthankyou! “I mean… what do you mean?”
The timbre of his deep voice filled the space between them. “I’m here to help. Use me.”
Wait. This had to be a prank. “I get it. Mimi sent you.”
His brow furrowed. “Mimi? No.”
Patience waning, she heaved a sigh. “Who are you?”
“I think you know.” He leaned a ripped bicep against the doorjamb in a move that seemed scripted—by her.
“I have no idea. Please enlighten me.”
“Jake? Ring a bell?”
She might have guessed. “Oh right. Jake Emerson?”
He clucked his tongue. “The one and only. I knew you’d recognize me anywhere.”
“Even at my own home. Go figure. So why are you here? As a prop for the signing?” Damn, he fit the role perfectly. She couldn’t have chosen a better actor. She jotted another note to ask Mimi if he could pose for the next cover.
“Is that all you need?” he asked with a hint of disappointment.
A loaded question. Better to ignore it. “No bags?”
“I travel light.”
“Didn’t she tell you? There are several events. Dinner, the keynote, plus the signing event. You might want a change of clothes.” Though if anyone could pull off wearing the same outfit every day, he could. She could claim it was Jake’s brand, his image, an intentional move to make him recognizable to conference attendees. Mimi always droned on about the brand, the brand.
Besides, who’d notice what he wore? They only wrapped the prize beneath. And what a yummy prize. She had to hand it to Mimi, the marketing genius.
Musing aloud, she murmured, “Where did they find you?”
They didn’t. I’m Jake.”
“Right. And I’m Lara Croft.” Not even her Halloween costume could turn Jody into the sexy heroine.
A chuckle warmed his smirk. “You’re better than that bimbo.”
Oh boy. “Let’s not get carried away, shall we? This is only temporary.”
“Why? Do you plan to kill me off?” Equal parts teasing and worry loaded his question.
“Don’t tell me you’ve read the series.” All that and a reader to boot.
“I don’t need to read it. I live it.”
His devilish smile almost blocked out his words, which jolted her like electricity.
Yikes. “Listen, Mr…” Rolling her hand, she prompted him to finish.
“Emerson.” He said it as if she already knew.
Method actor, apparently. She’d play along for now. “Sure. Mr. Emerson.”
A car horn sounded outside. She peered past him to where the taxi sat in her driveway. So Mimi must have sent him after all.
“Give me two seconds.” She hurried to grab her jacket.
“Take all the time you need, baby.”
The endearment brought her to a screeching halt. “Hold on. I get that you’re ‘Jake Emerson’ but when we’re together, address me as Ms. Feather. I am not your baby.”
Or anyone else’s, unfortunately.
His mouth curled down in a brief frown. “Pity.”
“Give it a rest.” She’d written this scene in the second novel, when Jake first meets that leading lady. How many scenes had he studied? Hopefully he wouldn’t reenact too many. Sure, she loved her work, but not so much she wanted to live it. Except for certain parts, like the shower scene in book three…
You don’t have time for this. “Do me a huge favor?”
He leaned into the door frame and stared into her eyes. “Anything.” His gaze dropped to her lips.
She melted from the inside out, heat spreading from her lower belly through her limbs. Easing her toward him. Toward those perfect lips. Anything… oh yes. And everything.
The taxi horn blared again, restoring her senses.
He raised his brows in question.
“The boxes upstairs,” she squeaked. “Can you carry them to the car please?”
He brushed past her, his warmth erasing her thoughts. “This way?”
“Yes, first door to the right. My bedroom.”
He flashed a smile and paused on the step. “Care to show me?”
Oh God, yes she would. Instead, she pointed. “The two boxes on my bed.”
Her gaze followed his jog to the top of the stairs, tight tush straining against the jeans. An audible sigh snapped her out of it.
After grabbing her bag, she said a quick goodbye to Frank. “It’s only for the weekend. See you Monday.” She glanced at the man heading out her door, biceps bulging around the boxes. “Tuesday at the outside.” Never rule out any possibilities. Her parents taught her that. And she’d made it Jake’s motto, one of the reasons fans loved him. Time to make it her own motto as well.
The saying had given her the strength to leap from journalism into fiction. If they only knew what she considered leaping into now… well, she was old enough to face those consequences. And enjoy them while they lasted. She glanced at Jake, waiting again on her doorstep with a ‘hey beautiful’ smile.
Holding a hand to the sculpted abs evident beneath his tee shirt, he bowed. “May I carry your bag, Ms. Feather? Or are you too liberated for such a show of chivalry?”
Wiseass. He had that aspect of Jake down pat. “Certainly.”
A full sweep of his gaze across her, and he winked. “We’re all set then?”
We. He said it so casually. So why did she want to bat her eyelashes at him? Use her best Marilyn Monroe voice, pull him back inside to slam the door and pin him against it?
Oh, I’m in serious trouble.
“All set,” she croaked. At least it gave her a chance to follow him down the walkway, and admire his rippling biceps and tight end, made more luscious by his swagger. She paid particular attention. She had to, or she wouldn’t be able to describe it in all its vital deliciousness in a later novel.
Oh yeah, she loved being a writer.

 


Thanks to The Wild Rose Press, which first published this ebook in 2011.